Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Forcibly Sex Trafficking a Minor on Backpage.com
On Friday, December 16, 2022, the following press release was issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Rodney Kent a/k/a “Hott Rodd,” a/k/a “Hott,” 51, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release by United States District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe after being convicted of sex trafficking earlier this year.
In June 2022, the defendant was convicted at trial of sex trafficking, arising from his forcible coercion of a minor to engage in prostitution. After meeting the victim on social media in 2016, the defendant met the teenage victim in person and brought the victim to his home, where he manipulated the victim into posing for photographs. The defendant then advertised the minor victim for sex on Backpage.com for nearly two weeks. During this time, the defendant physically abused the victim, including using lit cigarettes to burn the victim. Law enforcement recovered the victim after the victim escaped from the defendant. In April 2018, the Justice Department seized Backpage.com, which was the Internet’s leading forum for prostitution ads, including ads depicting the prostitution of children.
“The crime that this defendant committed is one of the most devastating to victims that our Office prosecutes,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Kent forced a teenager, a minor, to sell their body for his own greed and financial gain. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute these horrific crimes against the most vulnerable victims.”
“The cruelty and inhumanity displayed by Rodney Kent is staggering,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “He forced a child into sexual servitude, unleashing physical and emotional abuse even as he profited from that child's exploitation. While the FBI can't erase the harm he's done, we've made him answer for it, bringing justice for his victim and ensuring he can't claim any more.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tinicum Township Police Department, and Philadelphia Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexandra M. Lastowski and Vineet Gauri of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Assistant United States Attorney Seth M. Schlessinger, now of the Eastern District of Virginia.
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